Month of the Rosary: The month of October is called the Month of the Rosary and the call is to pray the rosary. The spiritual crisis that the Church is facing is that families don’t pray the Rosary, and much less, pray at all. We have a duty to be examples of prayer and to pray the Rosary as a family at home. It is a duty that we will be held accountable for.
Respect Life Month: As Catholics in the United States, we observe October as Respect Life Month. It is a time to focus on God’s precious gift of human life and our responsibility to care for, protect, and defend the lives of our brothers and sisters.
This past November, the U.S. bishops reaffirmed that “the threat of abortion remains our preeminent priority because it directly attacks life itself, because it takes place within the sanctuary of the family, and because of the number of lives destroyed.” While we cannot “dismiss or ignore other serious threats to human life and dignity such as racism, the environmental crisis, poverty, and the death penalty,” we renew our commitment to protect the most fundamental of all human rights – the right to live.
The Holy Father expressed that if we fail to protect life, no other rights matter. Pope Francis also said that abortion is not primarily a Catholic or even a religious issue, it is first and foremost a human rights issue.
Scripture lessons: The image of a vineyard is employed in today’s first and third readings. In both cases, things in the vineyard haven’t turned out quite the way that the owner had planned: it seems that the people responsible for caring for the vineyard in the first place didn’t live up to expectations.
Who owns the vineyard? God does, of course. What is the vineyard? It is the world in which we live. It is the world of relationships among us. It is the world – as Saint Francis de Sales says, the universe – within us. Who is responsible for the upkeep of the vineyard? We are…as individuals and as community.
The truth is that we don’t always live up to God’s expectations, either. As collaborators with God in God’s ongoing plan of creation, redemption, inspiration and salvation, we don’t always harvest the grapes of life in ways that give life: things like respect, honesty, purity, decency or virtue that we should. Sadly, we often use our energies in producing grapes of wrath: things like jealousy, envy, indifference, hatred, violence and injustice.
Sad News: We clearly know the kind of vineyard that God wants us to cultivate and grow, but sin, fear, and selfishness often prevent us from producing the kinds of fruit that give life. We are God’s people, His children. He expects from us justice and integrity, He expects from us an accountability.
Good News: God still has not lost faith, hope and love for us humans. He still sends his Son to every generation to give us the invitation to the banquet in the kingdom. Though we are nothing, he still treats us as being ‘little less than a god’ respecting to the end the gifts he has given us.
What do you say? We are now in the vineyard and the Son is coming to us. Do you accept Jesus into your life as the Son? Are you willing to give him the fruits of faith – love for others as God loves you, forgiveness for others as God forgives you, compassion for others as God is compassionate to you. This is not a parable any more. It is the fact of life: Jesus is standing at your door and knocks.